The Art of The Hustle

Today’s culture is saturated with articles, clever memes, and podcasts that idolize terms like “grind” and “hustle.”

Personally, I believe that assuming the responsibility to work hard for your dreams is one of the key elements of success, but at the same time, it’s equally important that we understand how to work, why we are doing the work, and what price we’re paying for the time and energy we invest in the work we do.

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Instead of Killing Myself, I Wrote a Story

The very surreal feeling of wanting to end your life, especially in the loud chaos of a bustling city — a city with people and lights and billboards and cars chasing one another all day and night, headed for nowhere in particular.

The burning sensation that crawls up and down your skin as you contemplate not having to hold the world on your shoulders anymore.

The chaos, the commotion, all these perfect strangers. Motion, commotion. Emotion.

I wanted to kill myself, but instead, I sat down to write:

I keep a small revolver tucked under my pillow. Every morning, I wake up and grab the little device and turn it on all sides. I inspect it as if its power of destruction could be easily comprehended.

Sometimes I press the barrel to my right temple. My index finger curled around the trigger, I close my eyes and count to ten. Of course, the gun’s never loaded.

Nevertheless, it makes you think.

You see, this is the only power we have. True freedom, as I like to say, comes from the realization that you can kill yourself any time you want.

Sunlight slipping through the heavy curtains, casting red dots on the walls, I can feel my blood boiling inside my body. My heart beats like a fist inside my chest; the metallic coolness of the gun infects my skin.

Loaded or not, it doesn’t matter.

I’m ready to pull the trigger. I want to see God and ask Him a million questions. I press the gun to my chest and take a deep breath. “This is not my life.”

We all die and there’s nothing terrifying or great about it.

“This isn’t a life worth living.”

The gun pressed hard against my chest, right where the heart should be, I pull the trigger. That’s when I can open my eyes. That’s when I can smile. When I can feel alive just because I could’ve and yet I didn’t.

Every morning I wake up and die.

“True freedom, as I like to say, comes from the realization that you can kill yourself any time you want.”

My character’s name was Paul. A painter. An artist. The burden of his own creative genius, the pain of ideas and dreams and hopes turning to rust and stardust.

That’s why I called this story, Dream City. We often forget that nightmares are dreams too.

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